Setting Expectations as a Photographer: Shot Lists & Clichéd Photos

As photographers, especially wedding photographers, we’ve all experienced this moment. The email with the endless list of “must have” shots. The invitation to a shared Pinterest board full of “inspiration”. The wedding day request from your couple to replicate a shot they saw on Facebook. Heart hands. Selective color. The list goes on and on and it’s a list that makes most photographers cringe.

Responding to these type of requests can make or break your client relationship, and so it’s important to have a plan for how to deal with them.

Educate, educate, educate

Your first step will be to educate your couple on what it will really be like to take 300 shots on a must-have list in the time allotted on a typical wedding day. Talk to them about how much time it can take to set up shots, to move between locations, and to get a wedding party refocused each time. Explain that very few couples actually enjoy being posed and reposed and reposed on the actual day of. And lastly, help them narrow down the list to a handful of shots they really *must* have, so you have a good idea of what you will need to tackle during the time you have.

Bride with her bridesmaids

Photo by Krista A. Jones Photography

When it comes to those Pinterest inspiration boards, you might find a whole bunch of photos that are shot or edited in a style completely different to your own. Guide your client back to your portfolio, and let them know that shooting style tends to be individual to each photographer, and unique to them.

Draw your line

It will also be important to establish what you will and won’t shoot when it comes to cliched photos. Some are easy decisions – railway tracks, cliff edges, dangling babies from trees – because they’re dangerous. Say no to those, and stick to your guns.

Be willing to bend

Some are outdated or old-fashioned, and while you may not see the appeal, maybe your bride has been dreaming about a photo like her mother’s, or her grandmother’s, for years. Get curious about those, before you say no outright, and work with your client to update the shot for the current day.

Trends are harder to draw lines around. Photographers often forget that we are among the only people who spend all of our time looking at photos, and usually, if you’re a professional, your friends are pros, too. So you’ve seen every trend about a million times by the time July rolls around – but your bride probably hasn’t. Not enough to realize it’s a trend. Once you’ve discussed these shots with your couple, you can decide to shoot it anyways, and remember this rule of thumb: Just because you shot it doesn’t mean you have to show it. Not every image you take will end up in your portfolio. Deliver a desired cliched shot to your client, and not to the world.

What are the trends and clichéd photos you’ve been asked to shoot this season?



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